Montana Green-Up

Through the twisties of Bridger Pass, and WeeOne erupts just shy of her usual sacred ground. We stop to clean her up, and I snap a few shots as E lets Nora out for a quick walkie break.
Panorama of Bridger Mountains, just past Bozeman.
Snow squalls through the West Gate of Yellowstone, now 200 miles further N and verga drops in columns like smoke.
The tiny town of Ringling sits at the bend of the road, with snow-capped mountains on all sides.
Finally on the dirt road near the ranch!
View of the highlands of the ranch.
On the road in front of the house…is that a bear print?
What else is that big, heavy, and clawed?
This poor Red Tail Hawk was lying dead at the base of the big willows in the yard.
Did he hit the power lines to the barn? Those lines are a way’s off though. He was loose and soft- it was hard to tell what might have happened. I put some tabs on the barbed wire fence around the back yard, I’d brought them up just for this possibility (too late), as the tabs let birds see the line. Maybe he was coming in hot on a rabbit and hit the barbed wire, then hid himself in the cover of the trees as he died. I think hitting the fence wire happened to a Sharp Tailed Grouse we found decapitated in the same area years ago- he had been doing his thumping ramp ups for a female that wandered around the yard like a tame chicken. His beheading is what inspired making the wire tabs, though a local falconer told us it might have been a weasel.
We buried him, and hope for his sake and all the other birds that it wasn’t bird flu. I only touched him with the shovel.

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